King Alfred Diette-Spiff
By Ernest Chinwo
The first Military Governor of old Rivers State and paramount ruler of Twon Brass in Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, has offered to broker peace in the face-off between the management of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The local chapter of ASUU had embarked on strike in protest against the re-appointment of Professor Barineme Fakae as vice chancellor of the university for a second term.
ASUU had claimed that the re-appointment of Fakae did not follow due process but the visitor of the University and Governor of River State, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, had said the re-appointment was in order and that Fakae had added value to the institution since his appointment as vice-chancellor of the institution.
Speaking in Port Harcount, Diete-Spiff said in Port Harcourt yesterday that it was time for the warring factions to sheath their swords and device a means of ending the crisis.
Diete-Spiff warned that it would amount to futility if the “house” is pulled down because somebody is angry, adding that as a traditional ruler, he was most willing to offer his services to bring the two factions to a negotiation table.
“If you are angry and you feel you want to pull down the house because you are angry, it will not do anybody any good.” Both parties should be brought to the negotiation table. Let us know what has angered you and see how we can overcome it together,” he said.
On whether ASUU should call off the strike, Diete-Spiff said, “I don’t know why they are striking, they know. We cannot just condemn them. What shall anybody gain in pulling down the house? That is why we as fathers are around to help.
“We are consultants. We are also mediators, arbitrators and we can also make reconciliatory efforts. We are always available and we can offer our services to anyone who cares to use. But anyone who thinks he is a magician and can make things happen by snapping the fingers, good luck to them.”
He insisted that rather than “going on strike here and there, look for a consultant, the experts. Both parties should realise that flexing muscles and breathing down on each other will not take us anyway.
“This is the area that the older ones should be called in to mediate between the two warring parties. I don’t know why they are striking. There are professional negotiators and mediators. There is also the institute of arbitration and peace resolution. They are all there for people to use”, the retired Navy officer said.
He explained that peace was the most essential ingredient in any academic environment and called on the academic union to reconsider its position for the interest of the students of the institution.